FIRING DUALITY - Going from a paradigm of Two to "Many"
*this is an essay which includes what is wrong and what is right and the ambiguity of spectrum*
The separation of “nature” from “me” parallels/mirrors/describes how the society has separated from the earth itself. This is a first duality, and one that sets humans up for the damage we have caused. I pose that we have caused damage not only to earth but ourselves with the extremes of duality we have explored. But we also know that to poison the planet, we poison ourselves.
It was a conversation about working jobs to earn a living, trying to work so I could live. Live and work being different things in our western club. Eating, sleeping, nature, exercise. It has all been excised out into separate cubicles. We go to separate places for separate experiences. The gym is where you work out, the school is where we teach children, the old folks home is where we care for older folk. We categorize food into groups, blocks we put together later from separate calorie charts. We count our steps so we can fulfill a quota, separate from the walking experience. We are dividing injury from surrounding “healthy” tissues; we are separating mental instability from normal behavior, and on and on.
We use categorization in order to understand the whole, but often that leads to not seeing the whole anymore. The sciences recommend methodical separation to learn, isolating genes for instance that are “off” and indicate imperfection. This is not a bad thing. What I am saying is that we’ve idealized separation and categorization and have swung so far out, we have to apply a whole lot of “wholeism” to get back to balance.
Fear versus Safety as some cosmic cage match is Simplistic and False.
Science has certainly done us great favors by pulling us out of the concept that we are helpless to an invisible God or Superstition, to name two other systems we are/were working with. Beginning to categorize certainly is not a modern concept in the strict sense. We've just taken it and run with it, idealizing separation to the point that we now feel that separation is the only legitimate way to do learning. Our extremism is leaving out a lot of experience that suggests otherwise. But the good news is: “Balance will out.”
Taking the example of human bodies, every time something is separated from the whole, like surgical procedures, the nature of bodies bring the tissues back together to mend, to knit. Words of joining. Emotionally, it is similar. When we separate individuals from a family, like mom having a job in another city or state, we have the opposite principle trying to blend them, emotional stress signaling the loss. The longing for togetherness is the hardest part—systems have a tough time with that, because cohesion is a natural balancer to separateness. We know this instinctively when we bring ourselves together into support groups.
We’ve made a start in many areas with certain language that came along with understanding. We use the word spectrum for Autistic behavior, but we see that bleed into “normal”, too, and that’s confusing (at least to those who don’t want to delve into the research). Autism is only one arena I’m using as an example. Everything is a spectrum, and we must embrace the ambiguity again.
I also posit that when we have separated ourselves from our necessity to live off the land, we have separated ourselves from part of ourselves. We have risen out of our own experience as animals, and that cuts off a vital circulation for us. It is harder work for our systems to function. We can survive it, yes, and we may forget we were missing it, but our body/mind/spirit knows we are missing something, like part of our family. We separate our food production from our bodies, so we can accept all the pesticides, too.
Black and white, right and wrong, Duality is a concept we have been playing with for a while in the western club. Going back as far as language, we have defined “this” and “that” into a few sounds, and further narrowed meanings. Fast forward to printed language, when we started writing down plant varieties, defining family trees, keeping accounts. Fast forward again to discoveries in science, when we have found germs and nebulae to name and categorize. We then create ways that workers do fewer and fewer tasks per job, the Henry Ford method of factory output, which allows/forces us to create more and more items to own which burdens nature. We are realizing there is only so much we can produce that is worthwhile, and excess is empty.
We have taken the concept of dividing to the extreme nowadays, (and we are not entirely through with) excising specific smaller bits from the tapestry of our once whole experiences. Politicians gain power by dividing districts to their advantage, and sound bytes divide complex topics into powerful simplicities that no longer quite hold the truth. Anatomical dissection has lent us amazing ways to fix ailments, and aid the body/mind in coming back together, but I am afraid the consequences of “broken/fixed” duality makes for a dangerous crescendo. Yet in order to fully explore separation, we have gotten to that crucial destructive phase. Kali. We have separated our experience with that of the earth’s experience. The pimple will burst, and that will be a good thing.
A personal revelation this week, about not staying in a city that does not feel connected to my Self, is a product of how I want to nurture myself, and can no longer stand to be separated from a spot of earth that feeds me spiritually. The external world and my internal landscape can no longer be “Me” and “Not me”, nor Me and the City I endure. I can’t have cordoning-off of the me-as-animal-plant-mineral from “how I work, how I love, how I spend my time.” Integration is naturally pulling me back to the Whole experience.
It has become untenable not to be with my Mother, Earth, and not to bring all my brothers and sisters with me, the gazelles and the whales, the mushrooms and the herons. To pretend I am separate is the problem; to surrender separateness to my oneness with all of it is the only solution.
BEFORE WE’RE FINISHED…
We insert everything into our Duality, to the detriment of a lot of consensus. We talk of balance, and we mistakenly insert the concept of Balance that into the concept of Duality, because we are steeped in duality. But now we can begin to see above that concept and return to seeing the whole as a pretty awesome system as well.
What’s really cool about the concept of Wholeness is that it can include Duality. Duality cannot include wholeness, though. Think of that.
The challenge is that Wholeness allows/forces you to consider, think more, or think less and feel more!, and to be less certain of conclusions. It is more complicated than the dualistic system. Wholeness and complexity allow you to feel your own experience and be working from that center. At last!
Balance is more like a many-pointed, 3-D star. Of the many topics in our system, we can have a point in both directions, in every direction. Let’s take:
Bringing these opposites along one spectrum back into balance will, for instance, affect the line of:
Not enough physical exercise/run ragged physically.
This spectrum reaches from two points, and affects, for instance:
Calories In/Calories Out,
another line of balance with a spectrum and two points, which affects:
Higher Energy/Lower Energy
along its spectrum. And on and on. To affect one line of balance, we may tip another. When we talk about having a balanced life, we can not just ask to fix the one thing that we see as symptomatic, and everything else is “fine”. We already know this in our instinct…
…we know this because of the evidence that something always seems to pop up to be worked on next! Not just physically, but in family, business, living situations. I still think this is a larger picture, not just “modern times”. It is the system of reordering balance.
We have lost track of the old ways, in which we had to constantly flow with the season, when we gathered honey from the bees, made candles with the wax, gathered the berries off the bushes and made jam, dug a new well when one was dry, repaired the stone wall when it started to break through…etc. Something always needed to be done. That has not changed. We wanted it to, and so we sought to separate ourselves from its relentlessness. We merely swung out on the arm of doing it in a disconnected/separated way. And that is out of balance.
BALANCE IN PRACTICE- INTEGRATION
The separation of exercise from work, work from play, play from feeding your family…needs integration again, and needs to fold into the land and living things. I add that that the reason for reintegration is that duality doesn’t feel like the return/benefit we hoped for is worth the investment in this concept. The dualistic system's results have been explored and we are ready for the shift. If we were connected to our earth, we would not be confused about how to clean up our environmental mess. Our intentions will be unified to clean it up, back into balance. The very act of accepting and integrating all experiences legitimizes our whole being, and relieves the psychic stress we put ourselves and the planet under division.
WHAT IS AT STAKE?…indoor plumbing?
How did we get into this mess? By trying to relieve ourselves of Death and of the fatal inconveniences of extreme cold, heat, famine, endless labor and so on. So given that we “solved” a lot of these problems (each with lines of balance we went to extreme on), we don’t want to lose those benefits. We believe that if we are to return to the earth, we would be back there 100%--that we would be back to freezing, peeing outdoors, laboring over a plot of land (if you could afford land to begin with), widespread plague, and lack of air conditioning. We would lose our privilege over nature.
This is the lie that our fear tells us; that we will go from “comfortably in control of the negative” to “abject misery and the mercy of a violent nature”.
This is duality. That we think we can’t figure it out IS DUALITY. That we think quality of life equals control over nature. But I suggest that control merely has pulled us in one direction on our spectrum, too far. I say that we are naturally ordered to pull it back. We will. We will integrate surgery and holistic therapies. We will integrate knowledge with wisdom. We will integrate dishwashers with clean ground water, with solar power, with feeding all these people, with humane treatment of animals, with upgrading technological gadgets…We are already doing this. To embrace the change is to seek balance.
It’s not so scary. Fear versus Safety as some cosmic cage match is Simplistic and False. Balance is way safer, and balance is complicated. But balance is what we have to do. We pull back on dualism and find the center of our many-pointed star and go from there.